Kythera

Photo Courtesy of Nikos Roussis

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The Island of Aphrodite

Captivating Sceneries, Mysterious Symbolisms, Erotic Rhapsodies and Intriguing Legends on the Utopian Island of the Water Nymphs
Captivating and magical, enigmatic and mysterious, bizarre and intriguing, Kythera is an island full of mysteries. Its mystic wisdom is reflected to the inspirations of the era of Romanticism. Kythera is the utopia of desire, the one belonging to Aphrodite, which embodies charm, excitement, imagination, and passion. Symbolism for great intellectuals and renaissance artists, a symbol of the ideal place, and an inspiration for films, paintings and songs, the journey to Kythera holds a bucket of surprises. Characterized as the crossroads of the Mediterranean due to its strategic location between the Aegean, the Cretan and the Ionian Seas, Kythera can be fitted in the bowels of the entire world. The journey of Kythera has been combined with something elusive and impossible, which will never happen; Kythera has acquired a mythical identity and a mysterious aura. Then again, the wild beauty of this island attests that it could be mysterious, but it is existent. Blessed with legendary and mythical sceneries, Kythera awaits you for a journey to never land! Just beyond the treacherous cliffs of Cape Malea, Kythera has been long lands of exiles and pirates. On the island of Aphrodite, life swings between myths and reality, giving you the opportunity to experience your own perspective. Whatever you choose to experience, it is certain that your Voyage to Kythera will be anything but utopian. The misty walking trails with the abandoned medieval ruins surrounded from the forceful winds and the stormy seas reveal the true essence of Kythera to the travellers who seek for the authentic aromas of this island charmed from the wisdom of the myths and the legends. Crude as a diamond with a genuine soul, this island is waiting for you to discover her mysteries. This island has managed to preserve its cultural identity and its impressing natural sceneries; those who truly love Kythera, will not waver in front of the long journey. Distinguished for their friendliness and generosity, the local people will open you arms to feel their warm hospitality, as Kythera is the place of unique experiences and strong emotions. Blessed with ‘fairytale’ valleys and ‘murderous’ waterfalls, Kythera stands out for its wild beauty contrasts; whether you want to dive into emerald pools and waterfalls or you want to enjoy the pristine turquoise waters of the seawaters, you will be amazed from the natural beauty of this island. Even if millions of stars might not fit into the arms of heaven, the starry sky of Kythera will show you the bright dots that fill the deep black of the vast universe. This is the soul of Kythera, that will accompany you in your utopian explorations, and will make you promise to return to Kythera. You will realize that your journey to this island was not a coincidence! One thing is definite; the fairies will make you spells to fall deeply and madly with Kythera.

Discover Kythera

Best of Kythera

The Capital of Kythera

The Town of Hora is the capital of Kythera located on the south side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean that stands out for its architectural blend of the Aegean, Cretan and Venetian architectural styles. The naturally fortified castle of Hora, else known as the Eye of Crete due to its strategic position, was constructed with the with the intention of controlling the sea passages of Kythera. The traditional character of Kythera consists from sophisticated Venetian mansions and ancient buildings lining in narrow alleys that co-exist with whitewashed houses built under the British rule. If you are interested in the history of Kythera, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Kythera and the Historical Archives of Kythera. The medieval atmosphere of the Castle offers breathtaking views to the bays of Filoti and Kapsali.

The Archaeological Site of Paleohora

The Archaeological Site of Paleohora is one of the most important archaeological sites Kythera located on the northeast side of the island. It is the largest fortified settlement on Kythera that occupies an area larger than six hundred thousands square meters. Paleohora was built from the people of Monemvasia in the 12th century as the byzantine capital of the island, and it actually resembles the famous town of Mystras in Peloponnese. However, pirate Barbarossa destroyed the town in 1537, and sold all the inhabitants as slaves. Today, one will have the opportunity to admire traces of byzantine churches and monasteries ad remnants of houses.

The Beach of Kaladi

The Beach of Kaladi is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the eastern side of the island. It is the most beautiful beach of Kythera distinguished for its wild beauty. Kaladi is a pristine beach ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility.

The Castle of Kato Hora

The Castle of Kato Hora is one of the most significant monuments of Kythera located in the village of Mylopotamos. The castle was built from the Venetians in 1.565 AD following the destruction of the old capital, Paleohora, from the pirate Barbarossa. On the central gate, there is a carved blazon of the Lion of Saint Marcus and the Venetians. Today, one can admire traces of old houses and parts of the fortified walls. As the Castle of Kato Hora distinguishes for its imposing fortified architecture, it definitely worth visiting for its impressive architectural layout and its byzantine churches filled with murals.

The Village of Mylopotamos

The Village of Mylopotamos is a mountainous village located on the west side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful medieval villages of Kythera that stands out for its verdant vegetation. The verdurous settlement was named Mylopotamos following the 22 watermills and the small stream of the area. The central square hosts abundant springs under the plane trees. Mylopotamos is divided into the settlements of Kato Hora, Limnionas and Agia Sofia. Fonissa Waterfall is the most beautiful attraction of the village distinguished for its exotic beauty while Kastro in Kato Hora hosts the traces of a Venetian castle that served as a refugee for the inhabitants. From Kato Hora, one can follow the cobblestone trail that leads to the rocky bay of Limnionas. It is also worth visiting the cave of Agia Sofia for its byzantine wall painting and its beautiful iconostasis.

The Waterfall of Fonissa

The Waterfall of Fonissa is one of the most beautiful sceneries of Kythera located in the village of Mylopotamos. It is an idyllic site with beautiful bridges and scenic steams that resemble tropical sceneries. Fonissa Waterfall is situated among huge plane trees with emerald waters falling from a height of twenty meters that form a small pond ideal for swimming.

Archaeological Sites

The Archaeological Site of Kastro is located on Antikythera Island. The ancient town used to have rich historical momentums due to its strategic geographical position between Crete and Kythera. Archaeological excavations have brought to light traces of an entire fortified town that is dated back from the 4th century until the 1st century BC. However, the ancient city was destroyed from the Romans in 69 BC. The fortification walls of Kastro are still preserved in all their length along with remnants of sanctuaries, military installations, water cisterns, houses and other architectural elements.

The Archaeological Site of Paleohora is one of the most important archaeological sites Kythera located on the northeast side of the island. It is the largest fortified settlement on Kythera that occupies an area larger than six hundred thousands square meters. Paleohora was built from the people of Monemvasia in the 12th century as the byzantine capital of the island, and it actually resembles the famous town of Mystras in Peloponnese. However, pirate Barbarossa destroyed the town in 1537, and sold all the inhabitants as slaves. Today, one will have the opportunity to admire traces of byzantine churches and monasteries ad remnants of houses.

Castles & Fortresses

The Castle of Avlemonas is located in the village of Avlemonas. The castle was built from the Venetians in the 16th century with the intention of controlling the sea passages of Kythera. However, the fortress was assaulted from other foreign invaders over the course of time especially from the British warships. The battlements and observatories still stand out while you will have the opportunity to admire scattered rusted cannons.

The Castle of Hora stands on the naturally fortified site in the village of Hora. The castle was built from the Venetians during the 13th century. Also known as the Eye of Crete due to its strategic position, the castle was constructed with the with the intention of controlling the sea passages of Kythera between the Aegean, the Cretan and the Ionian Seas. Within the fortified walls of the castle, wealthy Greek noblemen and Venetian officials built their mansions.

The Castle of Kato Hora is one of the most significant monuments of Kythera located in the village of Mylopotamos. The castle was built from the Venetians in 1.565 AD following the destruction of the old capital, Paleohora, from the pirate Barbarossa. On the central gate, there is a carved blazon of the Lion of Saint Marcus and the Venetians. Today, one can admire traces of old houses and parts of the fortified walls. As the Castle of Kato Hora distinguishes for its imposing fortified architecture, it definitely worth visiting for its impressive architectural layout and its byzantine churches filled with murals.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Agios Ioannis En Krimno stands above the seaside village of Kapsali. It is a cavernous church that can be accessed through some stone stairs. According to tradition, John the Theologian arrived on Kythera before moving to Patmos to write the Apocalypse. Pm August 20, the traditional celebration in honor of the nativity of the Baptist is held in the church. The church offers stunning views towards the isle of Hytra, the village of Kapsali and the castle of Hora.

The Monastery of Agia Moni stands on one of the highest mountains of Kythera above the village of Diakofti. Although the monastery was destroyed from the Ottomans, it was refurbished in the 19th century. In fact, Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the greatest heroes of the Greek Revolution, made a promise to Virgin Mary to restore the monastery if he would succeed in the war. On August 6, the traditional celebration in honor of the Savior is held in the monastery. It is worth noting that the monastery cells are open for pilgrims who wish to reside during the fasting period of the first fifteen days of August. From the courtyard of the monastery, one can admire the view of the eastern coastline of Kythera while the back yard offer views towards Cape Maleas and Diakofti village.

The Monastery of Agios Georgios Vounou is a complex of two churches built on top of a mountain between the village of Avlemonas and the monastery of Agia Moni. The two churches were built on the foundations of an ancient temple. The monastery offers one of the best views of the island towards the castle of Peloponnese and the entire island of Kythera.

The Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa is the most important pilgrimage center of Kythera located on the western part of the island. Panagia Myrtidiotissa is the patron saint of the island. According to tradition, a local shepherd found the icon of Virgin Mary in the area after he dreamt of an angel pointing at the specific area. So, the shepherd built a small temple next to the myrtle where the icon of Virgin Mary was found. It is worth noting that the monastery cells are open for pilgrims who wish to reside during the fasting period of the first fifteen days of August. On September 24, the traditional celebration in honor of the saint is held in the monastery.

Monuments

The Bridge of Katouni is one of the most impressive monuments of Kythera found in the village of Livadi. It is the largest stone bridge of Greece with a length of 110 meters and a height of 15 meters. The bridge was constructed during the British occupation and was completed in 1826. Katouni Bridge distinguishes for its thirteen symmetrical and gigantic arches that showcase an exquisite architectural project of the British.

The Lighthouse of Moudari stands at Cape Spathi on the northernmost part of the island. It is the largest lighthouse built from the British in Greece that was constructed in 1857. The lighthouse offers panoramic views to the Aegean Sea.

The Olive Mill Stou Fava To Liotrivi is an old olive mill located in the village of Mitata. Visiting the olive mill, one will have the opportunity to admire the rich history of olive making and buy traditional products. On June 24, the Festival of Kytherian Tastes is held within the Olive Mill.

The Shipwreck of Mentor was the ship that Lord Elgin used in order to transfer the Parthenon marbles to England via Malta in 1802. Following the sinking of the ship, Elgin used divers from Kalymnos to haul the art pieces from the precious cargo. Up until today, research is being conducted regularly from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. The shipwreck is located at the entrance of Avlemonas port.

The School of Milapidea is perched on top of a hill overlooking the villages of Fatsadika, Livadi, Kontolianika, Keramoto and Tsikalaria. It is a vaulted building with a simple architectural design that consists from thick stonewalls and large arched windows. Today, the beautiful building is abandoned and deserted and has became a bird refugee.

The Watermills of Kythera is a valley with running springs located in the traditional village of Mylopotamos. The watermills were used extensively during the British occupation and their owners were required to pay taxes in order to use them. A long network of paths connects the watermills with each other. Other watermills can be found in the valley of Oheles, the gorge of Tsakonas in Mitata and the valley of Karavas in Agia Pelagia.

The Bridge of Katouni is one of the most impressive monuments of Kythera found in the village of Livadi. It is the largest stone bridge of Greece with a length of 110 meters and a height of 15 meters. The bridge was constructed during the British occupation and was completed in 1826. Katouni Bridge distinguishes for its thirteen symmetrical and gigantic arches that showcase an exquisite architectural project of the British.

The Lighthouse of Moudari stands at Cape Spathi on the northernmost part of the island. It is the largest lighthouse built from the British in Greece that was constructed in 1857. The lighthouse offers panoramic views to the Aegean Sea.

The Olive Mill Stou Fava To Liotrivi is an old olive mill located in the village of Mitata. Visiting the olive mill, one will have the opportunity to admire the rich history of olive making and buy traditional products. On June 24, the Festival of Kytherian Tastes is held within the Olive Mill.

The Shipwreck of Mentor was the ship that Lord Elgin used in order to transfer the Parthenon marbles to England via Malta in 1802. Following the sinking of the ship, Elgin used divers from Kalymnos to haul the art pieces from the precious cargo. Up until today, research is being conducted regularly from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. The shipwreck is located at the entrance of Avlemonas port.

The School of Milapidea is perched on top of a hill overlooking the villages of Fatsadika, Livadi, Kontolianika, Keramoto and Tsikalaria. It is a vaulted building with a simple architectural design that consists from thick stonewalls and large arched windows. Today, the beautiful building is abandoned and deserted and has became a bird refugee.

The Watermills of Kythera is a valley with running springs located in the traditional village of Mylopotamos. The watermills were used extensively during the British occupation and their owners were required to pay taxes in order to use them. A long network of paths connects the watermills with each other. Other watermills can be found in the valley of Oheles, the gorge of Tsakonas in Mitata and the valley of Karavas in Agia Pelagia.

The Bridge of Katouni is one of the most impressive monuments of Kythera found in the village of Livadi. It is the largest stone bridge of Greece with a length of 110 meters and a height of 15 meters. The bridge was constructed during the British occupation and was completed in 1826. Katouni Bridge distinguishes for its thirteen symmetrical and gigantic arches that showcase an exquisite architectural project of the British.

The Lighthouse of Moudari stands at Cape Spathi on the northernmost part of the island. It is the largest lighthouse built from the British in Greece that was constructed in 1857. The lighthouse offers panoramic views to the Aegean Sea.

The Olive Mill Stou Fava To Liotrivi is an old olive mill located in the village of Mitata. Visiting the olive mill, one will have the opportunity to admire the rich history of olive making and buy traditional products. On June 24, the Festival of Kytherian Tastes is held within the Olive Mill.

The Shipwreck of Mentor was the ship that Lord Elgin used in order to transfer the Parthenon marbles to England via Malta in 1802. Following the sinking of the ship, Elgin used divers from Kalymnos to haul the art pieces from the precious cargo. Up until today, research is being conducted regularly from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. The shipwreck is located at the entrance of Avlemonas port.

The School of Milapidea is perched on top of a hill overlooking the villages of Fatsadika, Livadi, Kontolianika, Keramoto and Tsikalaria. It is a vaulted building with a simple architectural design that consists from thick stonewalls and large arched windows. Today, the beautiful building is abandoned and deserted and has became a bird refugee.

The Watermills of Kythera is a valley with running springs located in the traditional village of Mylopotamos. The watermills were used extensively during the British occupation and their owners were required to pay taxes in order to use them. A long network of paths connects the watermills with each other. Other watermills can be found in the valley of Oheles, the gorge of Tsakonas in Mitata and the valley of Karavas in Agia Pelagia.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Kythera is located in the village of Hora. The museum displays important findings from the prehistoric and the classical years up until the 6th century BC. Exhibits include specimen of prehistoric pottery of the Minoan and Mycenaean periods, stone coasts and tombstones from the Venetian period and marble statues of Aphrodite and Eros from Venice.

The Byzantine Museum of Kythera is located in the village of Livadi. The museum displays a valuable collection of early Christian, Byzantine and post Byzantine artworks at the chapel of Analipsi in Kato Livadi. Exhibits include murals, religious paintings, silver icons, metal objects and ceramics.

The Historical Archive of Kythera is housed in the castle headquarters of Hora. It is one of the most important Venetian archives of the country that covers an extensive period from the 16th century up until the beginning of the 21st century. Exhibits include notarial documents, Venetian official documents, civil status and ecclesiastical documents and census papers.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Agia Sofia Mylopotamos is located close to the villages of Kapsali and Mylopotamos. The cave distinguishes for its rich stalactite and stalagmite formations. The average temperature is 16 degrees of Celsius and humidity rises to 73%. Inside the cave, one can visit the church of Agia Sofia that was built in 1875 to her honor from the villagers of Mylopotamos.

The Gorge of Kakia Lagada is a beautiful and wild gorge that starts from the medieval settlement of Paleohora and stretches towards the northern coast of Kythera. The mouth of the gorge forms a lake. Keep in mind that hiking and walking in the gorge is a difficult task, as the riverbanks are rugged and there are many rocks.

The Gorge of Tsakonas is located between the villages of Mitata and Viaradika. Walking through the gorge, one will have the opportunity to discover cavernous churches and numerous springs.

The Isle of Hytra is a natural attraction located close to the harbour of Kapsali. Hytra distinguishes for its magnificent cave and its emerald waters. In fact, the end of the cave is a haven for the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus Monachus. Hytra, aka pot, derives from a natural phenomenon that occurs in autumn, when a cloud sits just above the isle making the rocky isle look like a pressure cooker.

The Waterfall of Fonissa is one of the most beautiful sceneries of Kythera located in the village of Mylopotamos. It is an idyllic site with beautiful bridges and scenic steams that resemble tropical sceneries. Fonissa Waterfall is situated among huge plane trees with emerald waters falling from a height of twenty meters that form a small pond ideal for swimming.

Promenades and Villages

Agia Pelagia is a seaside village located on the northern side of the island. It is one of the largest coastal settlement ideal for those looking for relaxing and pleasant vacations. The area has a long sandy beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and water sport facilities. On the coastal promenade of Agia Pelagia, there are many taverns and restaurants offering local delicacies. On a close proximity from the village, one can visit the beautiful beaches of Firi Ammos, Lorenzo and Lagada. Occasionally, there are excursion boats to the island of Elafonisos distinguishes for its exotic sceneries.

Aloizianika is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. The lovely settlement distinguishes for picturesque atmosphere and its traditional houses. Aloizianika offers panoramic views to the surrounding areas. Wander around the narrow alleys to explore the solid settlement with the folk cottages built on a hill with houses and a tall fortified wall, which gives the feeling that Barbarossa is still on the island. From arches and cobblestone squares to flowery courtyards with ceramic decorations, Aloizianika is a true specimen of the Kytherian life in the 18th century.

Aroniadika is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. Characterized as protected and preserved settlement, the picturesque settlement is a true gem of Kythera. Ruins of the ancient buildings and renovated houses compose an atmospheric backdrop that will travel you in other times. It is worth visiting the houses to admire the imposing architecture of the village. In a close proximity from Aroniadika, one can also visit settlement including Aloizianika, Kastrisianika and Pitsinades.

Avlemonas is a seaside village located on the east side of the island. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of Kythera, the lovely settlement distinguishes for its numerous charming bays and gulfs with their verdant vegetation that create an astonishing natural backdrop. The surrounding areas of Avlemonas are ideal for hiking and walking lovers. If the weather is clear, one can visit the neighboring island of Antikythera from the harbour of Avlemonas. Worth visiting sights include the traces of the castle of Avlemonas and the beach of Paleohori.

Diakofti is the main port of Kythera located on the northeast side of the island. The port serves ferries from Gythio, Neapoli and Monemvasia in Peloponnese and Kissamos in Chania. In Diakofti, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches of Kythera with emerald waters and fine sand. Worth visiting sights include the shipwreck of Norland, the cave of Housti and the monastery of Agia Moni.

Fratsia is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. The inhabitants of the settlement are involved in agricultural and animal husbandry. Fratsia distinguishes for its Agricultural Exhibition held on August.

Hora is the capital of Kythera located on the south side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean that stands out for its architectural blend of the Aegean, Cretan and Venetian architectural styles. The naturally fortified castle of Hora, else known as the Eye of Crete due to its strategic position, was constructed with the with the intention of controlling the sea passages of Kythera. The traditional character of Kythera consists from sophisticated Venetian mansions and ancient buildings lining in narrow alleys that co-exist with whitewashed houses built under the British rule. If you are interested in the history of Kythera, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Kythera and the Historical Archives of Kythera. The medieval atmosphere of the Castle offers breathtaking views to the bays of Filoti and Kapsali.

Kalamos is a mountainous village located on the southern side of the island. Nestling among verdant valleys, the lovely settlement stands out for its panoramic views to Hytra Isle and the Cretan Sea. In the wider area, one can visit the cave of Agia Sofia for its rich stalactite and stalagmite formations and the seaside village of Kapsali.

Kapsali is a seaside village located on the southern side of the island. The charming settlement spreads around the two beautiful bays overlooking the dominant position of the Castle and the spectacular Hytra Isle. Kapsali distinguishes for its vibrant nightlife and its lively lifestyle. The marina of Kapsali offers safe shelter for sailboats and yachts.

Karavas is a mountainous village located on the northernmost part of the island. It is a verdant settlement distinguishes for its natural springs and its spectacular architecture. The springs of Amir Ali will surely enchant you! The local people of Karavas are proud for their association that organizes numerous cultural events in the summer. Close to the village, one can visit the beautiful beaches of Agios Nikolaos, Platia Ammos and Routsounas and admire the views from the lighthouse of Moudari.

Karvounades is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. The lovely settlement is one of the oldest villages of Kythera. Karvounades distinguishes for the church of Agios Georgios with its blue dome.

Livadi is a mountainous village located on the southern part of the island. The traditional settlement is renowned for the stone bridge of Katouni. It is the largest stone bridge of Greece with a length of 110 meters and a height of 15 meters. Katouni Bridge distinguishes for its thirteen symmetrical and gigantic arches that showcase an exquisite architectural project of the British. Kato Livadi hosts the Byzantine Museum of Kythera with a valuable collection of early Christian, Byzantine and post Byzantine artworks. Close to the village, one can visit the monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa and the monastery of Agia Elessa.

Logothetianika is a mountainous village located on the northern part of the island. It is one of the oldest villages of Kythera. The lovely settlement is surrounded from other tiny settlements including Christoforianika, Lianianika, Kousonari and Ntourianika. All those settlements distinguish for their rich architectural heritage. Logothetianika is renowned for its delicious taverns and its beautiful secluded beaches on the western side of the island.

Mitata is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. Nestling on verdant sceneries, the lovely settlement offers breathtaking views to the northern side of the island. The most important monuments of Mitata include the old olive mill with its interesting museum, the Black Cave that served as a shelter for the inhabitants and the mitata caves that were used from the shepherds as houses. Hiking lovers can follow the trail to the gorge of Tsakonas. On August, the wine festival of Kythera is organized in the village of Mitata.

Mylopotamos is a mountainous village located on the west side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful medieval villages of Kythera that stands out for its verdant vegetation. The verdurous settlement was named Mylopotamos following the 22 watermills and the small stream of the area. The central square hosts abundant springs under the plane trees. Mylopotamos is divided into the settlements of Kato Hora, Limnionas and Agia Sofia. Fonissa Waterfall is the most beautiful attraction of the village distinguished for its exotic beauty while Kastro in Kato Hora hosts the traces of a Venetian castle that served as a refugee for the inhabitants. From Kato Hora, one can follow the cobblestone trail that leads to the rocky bay of Limnionas. It is also worth visiting the cave of Agia Sofia for its byzantine wall painting and its beautiful iconostasis.

Pitsinades is a mountainous village located on the central part of the island. The lovely settlement is a fine sample of the traditional architecture of the north part of the island influenced from Peloponnese. It is worth visiting the medieval settlement of Paleohora for its rich historical significance, the village of Potamos for its charming square and the village of Aroniadika for its spectacular architecture.

Potamos is a mountainous village located on the northern part of the island. It is the largest village of Kythera. Worth visiting sights include the beautiful bridge of Potamos, the byzantine church of Agios Theodoros and the church of Panagia Ilariotissa. The central square of Potamos is one of the most beautiful spots of the lovely settlement ideal for enjoying your afternoon coffee. If you visit the village on a Sunday, don’t forget to visit the local market of Potamos.

Viaradika is a mountainous village located on the western side of the island. The surrounding area distinguishes for its water springs and its verdant vegetation. Viaradika is a charming settlement ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility. Close to Viaradika, one can visit the villages of Aloizianika and Mitata.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Likodimos, West Kythera

Spot: Castle of Mylopotamos, West Kythera

Spot: Monastery of Agia Elessa, Southern Kythera

Spot: Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa, West Kythera

Spot: Village of Agia Pelagia, Northern Kythera

Spot: Village of Avlemonas, East Kythera

Activities

Bicycling: The countryside of Kythera is an ideal place for cycling lovers. The natural diversity of the island gives the opportunity to discover and explore the mysterious beauties of Kythera. The villages of Agia Pelagia, Avlemonas, Diakofti, Kapsali, Kalamos and Logothetiana are ideal for cycling strolls. There are numerous bicycle rentals on the island in Agia Pelagia, Kapsali and Diakofti.

Bird Watching: The flora and fauna of Kythera is quite remarkable. The island serves as a major station and shelter for native and migratory birds that fly south to Africa for the winter. Particularly in the mountainous areas of Kythera, one will have the opportunity to encounter endangered bird species including Eleonora’s Falcon, Audouin Gull, Pelegrine Falcon, European Shag, Cory’s Shearwater and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. Some of the most important areas for bird watching include the Canyons of Kakia Lagada and Tsakonas and the Gorge of Mylopotamos. Many areas of Kythera have been declared as important wildlife refugees from the European Network of Natura 2000.

Canyoning: The wild and beautiful gorge of Kakia Lagada is an ideal gorge for lovers of canyoning. The trail starts from the byzantine temple of Agios Dimitrios in Paleohora and stretches all the way to the northern coast of Kythera. The mouth of the gorge forms a lake. Keep in mind that walking along the gorge is a difficult task and you will need a rope.

Climbing: The wild topography and rocky terrain of Kythera makes it an ideal Kythera for the lovers of climbing. Faskomilies, Kakia Lagada, Kakoplaka and Sparagario are some of the most intriguing climbing areas ideal for those who want to stimulate their adrenaline.

Hiking: Kythera hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful trails starts from Mylopotamos village and leads to the watermills where you can enjoy dives into the natural pools with the imposing Fonissa Waterfall. (2) Another interesting route starts from the village of Karavas and leads to the springs of Ami Ali. It is a beautiful route with verdant sceneries. (3) It is also worth following the route that starts from Platia Ammos beach, passes through Agios Nikolaos beach and leads to the Lighthouse of Moudari. The views will definitely reward you! Discover more information from the Hiking Association of Kythera.

Beaches

Diakofti is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the northeast side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kythera ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Firi Ammos, else known as Kalamos, is a long sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the southeast side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kythera distinguished for its extreme natural beauty. Firi Ammos is partially organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and a canteen.

Feloti is a sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the south side of the island. The beach stands out for its beautiful scenery and its wild beauty. Feloti beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. Keep in mind that the road towards Feloti is quite dangerous and it requires attention.

Fourni is a sandy and pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the northeast side of the island. It is an organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas. Fourni is accessible through a smooth dirt road between Karavas and Platia Ammos.

Halkos is a pebbled beach with crystalline waters located on the southern side of the island. It is one of the most popular beaches of Kythera with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and a canteen.

Kaladi is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the eastern side of the island. It is the most beautiful beach of Kythera distinguished for its wild beauty. Kaladi is a pristine beach ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility.

Kalami is a pebbled beach with crystalline water located in the western part of the island. Characterized as one of the most picturesque beaches of Kythera, Kalami distinguishes for its steep cliffs and its wonderful view to the Ionian Sea. Kalami is a pristine beach ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility. The beach is accessible from the driving route that leads to Mylopotamos village and Panagia Orfani Monastery. From there, one should continue to the path until the steep cliff that leads to the beautiful beach. The descent into the ravine requires attention.

Kakia Lagada is a long sandy and pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the northeast side of the island. It is one of the quietest beaches of Kythera that stands out for its tranquil environment. Kakia Lagada beach is situated at the end of Paleohora canyon.

Kombonada is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the southeast side of the island. It is one of the wildest beaches of Kythera ideal for those looking for isolation and seclusion.

Limnionas is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located on the west side of the island. It is a beautiful beach ideal for those looking for peaceful moments. On the beach, you will find a delicious tavern. North of Limnionas, one can explore the sea cave of Fokospilia where the Mediterranean Monk Seals have found shelter.

Lorenzo is a sandy and pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the northeast side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Kythera that stands out for its scenic beauty.

Melidoni is a sandy beach with blue water located on the southwest side of the island. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and a canteen. Beach parties are organized at Melidoni beach in the summer.

Paleopoli is a sandy and pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the east side of the island. It is the longest beach of Kythera with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and water sport facilities.

Routsounas is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located on the northern side of the island. It is one of the wildest beaches of Kythera ideal for those looking for isolation and seclusion.

Sparagario is a sandy and pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the southern side of the island. It is a beautiful beach with exotic sceneries. Sparagario is located at the end of the stream coming from Hora. It is accessible either from the dirt road below the castle or by hiring a pedalo from Kapsali beach.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

Coffee Corners 

Astikon: Coffee, Potamos

Arachtopolio: Coffee, Avlemonas

Fossa: Coffee and Pastries, Hora

Theodorakis: Coffee, Aroniadika

Vanilla: Coffee, Kapsali

Gastronomic Delights

Familia: Greek Cuisine, Fratsia

Filio: Kytherian Cuisine, Kalamos

Kaleris: Greek Cuisine, Agia Pelagia

Lemonokipos: Greek Cuisine, Karavas

Limanaki: Seafood, Avlemonas

Manolis: Greek Cuisine, Diakofti

Mihalis: Greek Cuisine, Mitata

O Magos:Greek Cuisine, Kapsali

Panaretos: Greek Cuisine, Potamos

Platanos: Greek Cuisine, Mylopotamos

Pierros: Mediterranean Cuisine, Livadi

Skandia: Greek Cuisine, Paleopoli

Sotiris: Seafood, Avlemonas

Stella: Seafood, Agia Pelagia

Toxotis: Greek Cuisine, Livadi

Cocktail Inspirations

Arachtopoleio: Cocktails and Drinks, Avlemonas

Astikon: Cocktails and Drinks, Potamos

Banda Landa: Cocktails and Drinks, Kapsali

Choraki: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Il Mercato: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Koukos: Cocktails and Drinks, Kapsali

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include the fine honey of Kythera, which is considered on the best honeys in the world and the olive oil of Kythera, one of the best olive oil varieties of Greece. One of the most famous Kytherian products is the oil rusk of Kythera. Other products include sausages, herbs, almonds and fruits.

The local specialties of the island include pastitsio, a dish made with pasta, minced meat and béchamel, octopus baked in the oven with various garlics and herbs, aubergines baked with tomatoes and onions, stuffed sea urchins, fatourada, a dish made with tsipouro spirit and tangerines, xerotigana, a sweet made with dough, honey, sesame, cinnamon and ouzo, rozedes, a sweet made with almonds, sugar, honey, cinnamon and water, melohondros, a sweet made with honey, bizedes, a sweet made with egg, sugar, almonds and lemon juice, sweet pumpkin pie, and sweet bread baked with cinnamon, sugar and honey.

Events & Festivals

Every June, the Kythera Music Day Festival takes place in the village of Kapsali.

Every July, the Festival of Kytherian Flavors takes place in Kythera. The festival hosts gastronomy seminars where traditional recipes are cooked in front of the visitors and an exhibition of the local products of the island.

Every 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of Virgin Mary is held at the central square of the village of Potamos. The fest is accompanied from folklore music, traditional dances and local dishes.

Every August, the Wine Festival of Mitata takes place in the village of Mitata. The festival is accompanies from traditional food, wine, music and dance. Mitata Wine Festival is usually held during the first weekend of August.

Every August, the Agricultural Festival of Kythera takes place in the village of Fratsia. In the festival, the local women are dressed in traditional costumes and offer local products to the visitors. The main aim of the festival is to promote the Kytherian products. Kythera Agricultural Festival is usually held at the end of August.

Every 24th of September, the traditional celebration in honor of Panagia Myrtidiotissa is held at the monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to poet Hesiod, Cronus cut off the head of his father, Uranus, from his desire to help his mother, Gaia, who was abused from the husband. Cronus threw his head in the sea of Kythera. From the sea foams, Aphrodite emerged who travelled to Cyprus.

History

Archaeological excavations show that Kythera has been inhabited from the Neolithic times. At the end of the 3rd century BC, the island was colonized from the Minoan Civilization who created a commercial naval base at Paleopoli. Following the decline of the Minoans, Kythera was colonized from the Mycenaean civilization followed from the Dorians and the Phoenicians, as described from Herodotus. During the 6th century BC, the island became a part of the kingdom of Sparta in Peloponnese while it was frequently occupied from the Athenians due to its strategic geographical position in the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually, Kythera became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 4th century BC until the invasions of the Arab and the Saracen pirates. With the decline of the Roman Empire, the island was conquered from the Byzantines followed from the domination of the Venetians in the 13th century. In 1537 AD, the Ottoman Admiral Barbarossa ravaged the principal center of the island, Paleohora, enslaving and killing the majority of the population. The Venetians governed Kythera until 1797, with a small break that the island was occupied from the Russians in alliance with the Ottomans. However, the residents of Kythera rose against the Venetians in 1780. On June 1797, the French occupied Kythera along with the other Ionian Islands and established a democratic regime. This lasted one year, as the French were chased away from the island from the Russians and the Ottomans. In 1809, the British took control of Kythera. During the Greek Revolution of 1821, many Kytherians went to Peloponnese in order to help in the resistance. On May 21 of 1864, the Ionian Islands were integrated with the rest of Greece. The island experienced major destructions due to the massive earthquakes of 1903. This led to a great wave of emigration to Australia and America. Kythera took part in the political movement of Eleftherios Venizelos during the First World War. On September 4 of 1944, Kythera became the first region of Greece to be liberated, although the island ended up deserted as more people emigrated to America and Australia.

Travel & Transport

By Air: Kythera has a national airport with scheduled flights on an annual basis. The journey from Athens usually lasts forty five minutes to one hour. Book your tickets with AirTickets.com!

By Bus: KTEL Buses operate routes from the Kiffisos Station in the city of Athens to the city of Gythio and Neapoli on a daily basis. The journey usually lasts five to six hours. From Gythio and Neapoli, there are daily boat routes to Kythera.

By Boat: Kythera is accessible by boat from the harbor of Piraeus in Athens, the harbour of Kasteli in Chania and the harbors of Neapoli and Gythio in Peloponnese. The journey from Piraeus usually lasts seven to eight hours, the journey from Neapoli usually lasts one to two hours, the journey from Gythio usually lasts two to three hours and the journey from Kasteli usually lasts ten to eleven hours. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

By Car (270 and 350 Kilometers): In order to get to Gythio, you will have to follow the National Highway of Athens to Corinth. After passing the Isthmus of Corinth, you follow the National Road of Tripoli to Sparta and follow the signs towards Sparta and Gythio. The journey usually lasts three and a half to four hours. In order to get to Gythio, you will have to follow the National Highway of Athens to Corinth. After passing the Isthmus of Corinth, you follow the National Road of Tripoli to Sparta and follow the signs for Monemvasia. After the village of Sykia, you will have to turn right and follow the signs to Neapoli. The journey usually lasts four to four and a half hours.

Mysterious Greece Tips

An Excursion to Antikythera Island

Abandoned from the Gods, Antikythera is the genuine experience for true adventurers. This gem distinguishes for being the location of the Antikythera wreck. Lying in the middle of the oceans, this tiny island is inhabited from forty five people away from civilization. Alleged as a paradise for the lonesome that seek for relaxation and tranquility, Antikythera will let you feel the serenity of mother nature. Wander around the narrow alleys of Potamos and ascend the main street to visit the settlement of Harhaliana and the carved rocky scenery known as Karamela. Dive into the crystalline waters of Xeropotamos beach for a romantic night under the moonlight and pay your respects to the archaeological site of Aegila. Heading to the southern part of Antikythera, you will be rewarded from the verdant sceneries of Agios Myronas and the endless views from the Lighthouse of Apolitara. If you happen to visit the island on August, you should not miss the traditional celebration in honor of Martyr Myronas held on August 16 and 17 accompanied from traditional Cretan music, dance, food and wine. If you are interested in history, discover more information for the worldwide known Antikythera mechanism, the world’s first computer, from the Ministry of Culture.

Antikythera Mysterious Shipwreck

In 1900, a group of Greek sponge divers discovered an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera. According to archaeologists, the shipwreck dates back to the second quarter of the 1st century BC. Numerous coins and statues were manifested from the wreck. However, the most important finding was the world’s oldest known analog computer, the mechanism of Antikythera, which was designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. Up until today, research is being conducted regularly from the international associations of underwater antiquities.

Agrotourism on Kythera

Are you one of the travellers who want to come close to nature through activities in the agricultural sector of the island? Then, Kalamos is the place to be! The farming life of Kythera beats at the village of Kalamos drowned in vegetable gardens, orchards and vineyards.

Authentic Gastronomic Experiences on Kythera

Paradise of local products, Kythera will tempt your palate! Distinguished for its oil rusks and its thyme honey, Kythera will definitely offer you an authentic gastronomic experience!

Behind the Verdant Sceneries of the Waterfalls

Mylopotamos could be the Garden of Eden! Blessed from the tropical sceneries that resemble the Amazon, Fonissa Waterfall is a true gem! Following the verdurous trail to the waterfall, you will discover this little paradise with running waters falling from a height of twenty meters!

Camping on Kythera

Are you in love with nature? Camping brings your vacations in a whole other dimension. Pitch your tent or settle your caravan and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul! It is highly recommended to protect the environment and make sure you carry all the necessary provisions with you. The municipal camping site of Kythera is located in the village of Kapsali.

Canyoning through the Wild Kytherian Sceneries

Reserved for the adventurous nature lovers, Kakia Lagada Canyon is offered for exciting experiences! Starting from the byzantine temple of Agios Dimitrios in Paleohora, the wild route stretches all the way to the northern coast of the island while the mouth of the gorge forms a lake. Although walking along the gorge might be difficult and requires proper gear, it is definitely an experience of a lifetime! Keep in mind that two areas need the use of ropes. The trek lasts usually two hours.

Discover the Green Lake of Kythera

Just off Mylopotamos village, you will have the opportunity to dive into the emerald waters of the natural pool of Kythera! Carved rocks from the sea and the wind have created a beautiful natural wonder!

Easter Celebrations on Kythera

Easter is one of the greatest celebrations of Christianity. Faithful and pilgrims all over the country follow the rituals devoutly during the Holy Week. Holy Friday in Hora is a unique experience where the Epitaph is carried from the locals through the narrow alleys followed from the crowds holding candles while the houses open their doors and place an icon at the entrance in order to be blessed from the Epitaph. Also, the Epitaph of Avlemonas is an ideal destination to follow the procession of the Epitaph where locals light the way by placing flaming tins along the procession route. Pay your respects to the Monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa on Holy Saturday to enjoy the Resurrection followed from byzantine music of a local ecclesiastical choir. At midnight, the sky lights up with spectacular fireworks. Visit Agia Pelagia on Easter Sunday in order to join the traditional Easter celebrations and enjoy some local delicacies followed from traditional music and dance.

Elafonisos Island Equals Exotic Sceneries

Conquered from corsairs and pirates through the centuries, Elafonisos is a mysterious treasure located just off the coast of southern Peloponnese. Distinguished for its exotic sceneries and its turquoise waters, this island is blessed with the finest of nature. Elafonisos has unique natural beauty, extraordinary sceneries and temples of historical significance hidden in the underwater mysteries of Pavlopetri. Whether you want to hike to the highest spot of the island namely Vardia in order to enjoy the astonishing views of Cape Malea, a world natural heritage monument of Unesco, or you desire to dive into the crystalline waters of Simos beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, Elafonisos is an ideal destination to explore a destination off the beaten track!

Emerald, Sapphire and Turquoise Waters

Dazzling sandy dunes with waters in all the shades of blue under the windy breezes of the summer and the clear blue sky. Whether you are looking for azure, cerulean, emerald, sapphire or turquoise waters, Kythera has it for you! From May up until September, the northeastern winds dominate on the island offering a refreshing breeze on the hot summer days. However, it can cause big waves on the northeast coast. On the east coast, you will find isolated and golden beaches while the west side is dominated from wild beaches. Some of the most beautiful beaches of Kythera include Feloti, Firi Ammos, Kalami, Kaladi, Lorenzo, Paleopoli and Sparagario.

Enjoy your Coffee at Fossa in Hora

Fossa in Hora of Kythera is one of the best places to enjoy your coffee with panoramic views of the endless blue of the Aegean!

Explore the Unexplored: Mysterious Kythera

Blessed with legendary and mythical sceneries, Kythera awaits you for a journey you will never forget! The locals divide the island into the northern and southern parts due to its architectural, climate and morphological differences. The northern side of Kythera has a Peloponnesian character while the southern side of Kythera has an Aegean character. With 66 villages, the island has managed to retain its authentic atmosphere with millions of monuments including byzantine churches, medieval castles, stone breaches and spectacular beaches. On the south side, you will find the beautiful settlement of Hora with its beautiful castle, the trademark of Kythera, and the natural bays of Kapsali. Moving towards the western part, you can visit the beautiful beach of Halkos and Melidoni. The true gem, however, is the verdurous village of Mylopotamos adorned with eucalyptus trees, waterfalls, water springs and old watermills. From Kato Hora, you can admire the most beautiful sunset of Kythera while you can also visit the imposing cave of Agia Sofia. The west side of Kythera distinguishes for its perfectly preserved villages including Aloizianika, Aroniadika, Logothetianika and Pitsinades. Well-maintained houses with arches, oil presses and threshing floors attest the rich architectural heritage of the island. Mitata village is another village you ought to visit for its panoramic views and its wine festival while Avlemonas might make you feel like you are in one of the Cyclades islands. Head to Potamos village to enjoy your coffee at the central square and buy local products from the Sunday market and visit the springs of Amir Ali at the village of Karavas, which also stands out for the largest traditional festival of Kythera. Towards the area of Platia Ammos, you will find some of the most relaxing places of the island. Grab your keys, start driving and explore the unexplored face of Kythera!

From Kythera With Love

Don’t leave from Kythera without buying the delicious Kytherian thyme honey. Distinguished for its special aroma and flavor, the Kytherian honey is regarded as one of the best honeys in Greece! You can bug the delicious Kytherian thyme honey from the Beekeepers Association of Kythera in the village of Aroniadika.

Follow the Steps of Helen and Paris

According to poet Hesiod, Cronus cut off the head of his father, Uranus, from his desire to help his mother, Gaia, who was abused from the husband. Cronus threw his head in the sea of Kythera. From the sea foams, Aphrodite emerged at the beach of Paleopoli! Another myth states that Aphrodite promised to give the apple of contention to Paris, so that he could give it to Helen of Sparta. Aphrodite was the one who protected the couple, when Paris abducted Helen from Sparta and returned back to Troy. Helen and Paris found refugee in Kythera in order to wait for a fair wind. So, they walked to the temple of Aphrodite at the hill of Paleokastro. As Helen walked on the beach of Paleopolis, the pebbles took the shape of hear, and Paris thought it was an omen from Aphrodite. The next day, the wind blew and Helen and Paris began their journey to Troy. Bring your other half to discover the heart-shaped pebbles and follow the path that leads to the temple of Aphrodite and enjoy the views to the endless blue of the sea. Walk in the footsteps of Helen and fall in love again and again!

Explore Hytra Isle

Hytra Isle is a rocky island located close to the harbour of Kapsali. Hytra distinguishes for its magnificent cave and its emerald waters. In fact, the end of the cave is a haven for the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus Monachus. Hytra, aka pot, derives from a natural phenomenon that occurs in autumn, when a cloud sits just above the isle making the rocky isle look like a pressure cooker. One can hop into a boat from the port of Kapsali to visit the isle of Hytra!

Lost and Found: Parthenon Marbles

Just outside the harbour of Avlemonas, you will witness the ancient shipwreck of Mentor. It was discovered from the Institute of Marine Archaeology in 1980. Mentor was the ship that Lord Elgin used to transfer the Parthenon marbles to England via Malta in 1802. Up until today, research is being conducted regularly from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

Observing Like an Olympian God

Wondering where you can enjoy the most magnificent views of Kythera? The Castle of Hora provides an excellent view to the endless blue of the sea and the Monastery of Agia Moni on the east part has an astonishing view to the harbour of Diakofti and the shipwreck of Mentor. You will enjoy one of the most glorious views to the coastline of Peloponnese and the entire island of Kythera from the Monastery of Agios Georgios Vounou while the beach of Agia Pelagia offers a beautiful view to Elafonisos Island and Cape Maleas.

Oil Rusks from ‘Ta Kythera’ and “Karavas”

Bread baked in the woods, the famous Kytherian Oil Rusk is something you should buy before you leave from Kythera! Karavas and Ta Kythera are perhaps the best bakeries you can buy the Kytherian oil rusks that offers high quality products. Karavas bakery is located in the village of Karavas and Ta Kythera bakery is located in the village of Karvounades.

Participate to the Barbarossa Days

Barbarossa Days is a beach volley tournament organized at the beach of Lagada every summer.

Sempreviva: The Immortal Flower of Kythera

Sempreviva is a unique flower that only grows on the northwest part of Hytra Isle. Sempreviva derives from the Latin words semper and vivere meaning lives forever. The flower was named from the Venetian conquerors of Kythera who noticed that it remained unaltered as the time passed when they cut it.

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Diakofti Village: Ntinos Lagos by Panoramio

Firi Ammos Beach: Georgios Michalogiorgakis by Flickr

Fonissa Waterfall: MG

Hora View to Kapsali Village: Shutterstock

Hytra Cave: Dina Panou by Flickr

Hytra Isle: Georgios Michalogiorgakis by Flickr

Kakia Lagada Beach: Helga0 by Flickr

Kaladi Beach: Shutterstock

Kapsali Village: Shutterstock

Katouni Bridge: TC Pics by Flickr

Kombonada Beach: Dimitris Kolokousis by Panoramio

Mylopotamos Village: SKo by Panoramio

Potamos Village: TC Pics by Flickr

Shipwreck: Nikos Roussos by Flickr

Traditional House: Shutterstock

Tree: Ignotus Homo by Flickr